Over the Summer, Classic American attends up to eight car shows all over the UK selling magazines, back issues and subscriptions. These shows are covered editorially to provide content for Classic American, but most importantly at each show there will be a ‘heat’ of the Car of the Year competition. At each show a winning car is chosen, with the winner receiving a cheque for £100 and a 'Car of the Year' trophy.
Each of these heat winners was invited to bring their car to display it on the Classic American stand at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show held at The NEC, Birmingham.. Over the weekend the cars were judged by three independent judges and one overall champion was picked - John Maye's Tuxedo Black 1966 Corvette! John received a cheque for £500, a prestigious hand-cast brass trophy and his car will now feature on the front cover of Classic American's February issue. Read more about the 'heat' winners below!
Heat 1, Wheels Day Hampshire, March 25th (Pictured top left)
Gavin Shaw’s 1970 ’Cuda 440 six pack won the first heat of the Footman James Car of the Year competition. Gavin acquired the Plymouth around two years ago and it’s believed to have been a drag race car on the East Coast, hence the low mileage of around 37,000 miles. The Plymouth boasts the very desirable A34 Super Track Pack, which includes goodies such as 4.10 gears with Sure Grip in a Dana 9.75 inch axle, seven blade fan, max cool 26-inch radiator and a dual point distributor and power front disc-brakes. Apart from the rare and highly attractive Burnt Orange Metallic paint, the ’Cuda also boasts other such desirable options as the Shaker hood, four-speed manual gear box with Hurst shifter, Rallye dash (with the tic-toc tach!) and the light option package.
Heat 2, Footman James Bristol Classic Car Show, June 18th & 19th (Pictured second from left)
Nick Parker from Bristol's gorgeous 1973 Cadillac Sedan De Ville was the second heat winner of the Car of the Year competition. Big Cadillacs like this are hard to find in such immaculate condition, but this particular car is a real cream puff of a car. A pristine White leather interior and stunning Saturn Firemist Bronze paint make this truly a show-stopping car... the question is, will it fit on the Classic American stand at this year's NEC Classic Motor Show?! You'll have to come along over the weekend of November 11th-13th to find out!
Heat 3, Stars & Stripes Show, Tatton Park, Cheshire, July 2nd & 3rd (Pictured third from left)
The Car of the Year Heat winner from Stars & Stripes show held at Tatton Park is the most fantastic 1970 Boss 302 Mustang belonging to Mark Nicholson. Not only did it scoop Car of the Year, it also got Best In Show at the same event. Hailing from California, this original Boss 302 Mustang arrived in the UK still as a project with many of the original parts missing. Mark (Owner) has made it his mission to source as many of the hard-to-find and very pricey Boss parts for the car. The Boss 302 Mustang was Ford’s answer to Chevrolet’s successful track racing Camaro Z28 and is widely to held to be the best handling Mustang ever, designed as it was to compete in the Sports Car Club of America’s racing series of the late Sixties/early Seventies.
Heat 4, Rally of the Giants, Blenheim Palace, Oxon, July 10th (Pictured second from right)
A 1933 5 Passenger V12 Town Sedan belonging to Bob Lucas took the fourth heat of the Car of the Year competition in the stately grounds of Blenheim Palace. This magnificent vehicle, which weights almost two and a half tonnes, is built on a 140-inch wheelbase and is powered by a mighty V12 motor. With its enormous headlamps and dual spares mounted on the running boards, it dwarfs modern cars and makes its presence known by its sheer size. It’s refreshing to hear that Bob treats and drives the car like any ordinary vehicle (it will sit at 60 or 70mph on the motorway quite happily) and when he pops along to the shops in it, parks it across to spaces and buys two tickets! A full feature on this remarkable Cadillac appeared in the July 2014 (CA279) issue of Classic American magazine.
Heat 5, Damn Yankees Show, North Weald, Essex, July 24th (Pictured top right)
This is the stunning Tuxedo Black 1966 Corvette belonging to John Mayes from Thetford in Norfolk, which picked up the trophy for heat 5 at the Damn Yankees show at North Weald, Essex. The car was featured in Classic American several years back and even appeared at the NEC before that in its 'barn find' state. It's had an interesting and colourful life including many years spent in West Africa. Featuring a big block 427 motor, it's even achieved a 98.2% score by the National Corvette Restoration Society - a high accolade indeed!
Heat 6, Mopar Euro Nats, Santa Pod Raceway, Northants (Pictured below right)
The Mopar Euro Nats saw Round 6 of the Footman James Car of the Year. One car that made quite an impact when it rolled in was John Castleman's Plymouth Roadrunner, a car he's owne for almost three decades and spent the last 8 years restoring. He has replaced many of the car's panels, floors, rear quarters, door skins... in fact there's not much remaining of the original car. With a 440 six pack motor, nose cone and winged spoiler, this is the ultimate Mopar muscle car!
Heat 7, Footman James Car of the Year (Pictured in the below two middle images)
ATOMIC was the venue for the penultimate heat of the Footman James Car of the Year competition. Having been rescheduled from May after the venue was water-logged, the hope was for some scorching hot August weather… It didn’t quite work out that way, but at least there were plenty of nice cars on hand which for the Car of the Year heat competition. The car which snagged the car of the Year heat was the 1959 Pontiac Bonneville belonging to Phil Holden from Worcestershire. The car only arrived on these shores recently and is a great example of a survivor car. Bonnevilles boasted 260bhp 389 cu in V8 motors fed by a four barrel carb and were Pontiac’s top of the line offering for 1959!
Heat 8, Prescott Hill Climb American Autumn Classic (Pictured below far left)
The final heat of 2016's Footman James Car of the Year competition took place at the Prescott American Autumn Classic and was won by Steve Blewitt’s wonderful 1958 Ford Custom 300 two-door sedan. Whilst the Custom 300 was the base model offered by Ford that year, this is a real peach of a car in terms of its condition and originality. With only 34,000 miles from new, it was assembled in Kansas, where it remained most of its life and it features a 292 cu in ‘Y-block’ V8 and two-speed Fordomatic transmission. Steve saw the car on eBay initially and ended up buying it from Fast Lane Classics and has owned it for two and a half years now. Picture Credit: Dennis Wood.